The Detroit Pistons play host the Chicago Bulls this later today, however, this won’t be you’re typical 7:30 p.m. tip-off at Little Caesars Arena. Instead, this afternoon’s contest will be played more than 4,000 miles away in Paris, France.
While the NBA has allowed each team as much rest time possible to combat the travel—the Pistons and Bulls each play only one game this week—the circumstances is still far from your regular Thursday night in the NBA.
The change in time zone coupled with the fact the Bulls struggle to dispatch of sub-.500 teams, makes tonight a winnable game for the Pistons.
On the injury front, Detroit will be without Cade Cunningham (shin) and Marvin Bagley (hand). After finding his passport, Jalen Duren is now with the team and has been listed as questionable.
Chicago will field an almost fully-fit line-up, with Javonte Green and Lonzo Ball listed out.
When: 3 p.m. ET
Where: Accor Arena, Paris, France
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit, NBA TV
Odds: Pistons +6
3 Things to watch
1. Killian Hayes
In his return to home soil, all eyes will be on the 21-year-old Frenchmen in tonight’s contest with the Bulls.
In seasons prior, the pressure may have been too great for Killian, but in recent months Hayes has played with a renewed sense of confidence. Gone are the days where a few misses to open the game would sap any chance of a solid outing. Heck, there was a time where one down game would spark a weeks worth of rough outings for the former lottery pick.
The current version of Hayes is no longer flustered by a poor quarter. In fact, it’s more surprising when he doesn’t immediately bounce back with a solid 12 minutes of play in the ensuing quarter.
Hayes is yet to suite up against Chicago this season, he was absent from their December meeting as a result of a 3-game suspension. Since returning from suspension, Hayes has played arguably his best stretch of basketball.
In his past seven games, he’s averaging almost 15 points (14.6) and dishing 8 assists. Even better, he’s scoring his points on great efficiency, knocking down 38% of his three-point attempts and converting 46% of his shots overall.
Killian’s scoring and play-making has been close to essential for any Pistons success this season, let’s hope the Frenchmen can deliver his best game yet.
2. Bey back in business?
Saddiq Bey’s third season as a pro has been underwhelming. After a well-documented summer spent in basketball’s version of solitary confinement working on his craft, the hope was the Villanova product would hit the ground running in year three.
Well, that didn’t happen. True to form, Bey has struggled mighty through the first half of the season. Seemingly forgetting how to shoot from beyond the arc. In 43 games so far, Bey is shooting a career-low 33% from deep, leaving fans wondering if his sharp-shooting rookie season was nothing more than a fluke.
However, while Bey has struggled, we here at DBB like to try and find silver-linings amongst the doom and gloom of a down year (at this point it’s simply a coping mechanism).
In his past 3 outings, Bey is scoring 24 points on 50% shooting from three (6.7 3PA). He’s also bullying his way to the charity stripe, knocking down 91% of his 7.3 attempts in this span of games.
This could be the start of a scintillating stretch for Saddiq or it could just be a blimp in the Pistons 82-game radar. I’m hoping its the former.
3. Enjoy the scoring brilliance of Lavine and DeRozan
While they have contrasting methods of attack, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan present two of the NBA’s most athletically pleasing scoring repertoires.
Once known for his ability to soar above the rim, LaVine has turned himself into one of the leagues best shot creators. He’s got every shot in his arsenal down-pat; the step-back, pull-up and fade-away are all a staple of the UCLA products attack.
What makes LaVine special is his ability to knock down these type of looks from beyond the arc. Even in a down season, LaVine is still putting up 24 points a night on above average efficiency.
On the other-hand, DeRozan has made his pro-living in the mid-range area. He’ll back-down his defender in the mid-post area, before dazzling them with elite footwork and shooting over the top of them for, what has become, an easy two points.
Per Synergy Sports, DeRozan ranks in the 94th percentile for scoring efficiency on post-up possessions. Even in today’s pace and space era, that’s a ridiculous number for a wing player.
Detroit Pistons (12-35)
Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Chicago Bulls (20-24)
Ayo Dosunmu, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Niokla Vucevic
Question of the Day
This ones easy, let me know what you think Killian’s stat-line will be tonight?